by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
Last week many Americans observed St. Patrick’s Day. I did, but I didn’t eat corned beef and cabbage, find a pot of gold in my back yard (or anywhere!) or even a lucky four leaf clover. But I did spend time praising God for Patrick of Ireland, one of God’s mighty heroes. Few people know that he wasn’t born Irish, he didn’t chase snakes out of Ireland and he’s not terribly important to those who study church history, Protestant or Catholic. I consider him the Church’s mightiest messenger, evangelist and church planter, second only to the Apostle Paul whose story is recorded in the New Testament. But that got us thinking about the importance of heroes in our lives. I’d like to conclude with some further thoughts on this topic now.
First, I’ll focus on a personal choice. She was born in Ireland in the late 1800’s, the older sister among her siblings and daughter of relatively well-to-do parents. She reached out to needy people in her neighborhood while little more than a child herself, and her ministry among ‘shawlies’ – those women who worked long hours in factories at that time – is recorded, too. God called her, when a young woman, to missionary work in Asia and after several failed attempts she finally found her life’s ministry in South India. There she established a remarkable work of God starting out as a colporteur (one who distributes gospel literature) and finally establishing a haven for at-risk children which still exists today. You’ve probably already guessed I’m writing about Amy Carmichael, one of my personal, all-time hero favorites.
Second, I’m wondering if you’ve talked about heroes around your family table this past week. (Webster: a person admired for his/her achievements or qualities.) Often, they’re found in the sports arena or in books and movies. And, of course, their achievements or qualities can be homespun and seemingly ordinary. The Bible’s pages are full of heroes, too. Some of them are youth or young adults:
- Miriam, Moses’ big sister and protector
- Joseph, the spoiled kid who became his family’s rescuer
- David, the boy, sling-shot champion
- Ruth who braved a foreign culture to find true love
- Esther, the courageous, young queen who risked her life for her people
- Josiah, boy-king who championed the truth
- Daniel and his three buddies who knew the value of a healthy diet
I think you get my idea. You don’t need a professional, curriculum guide to explore these heroes’ lives. Just your Bible and a concordance. Find a story in the scriptures, read it together carefully, digest it creatively to look for God’s presence. Work through the hero’s life, and then as a family brainstorm and record what wisdom you’ve discovered and list what you’ll do to make sure that wisdom remains with you for the rest of your lives. This has the makings of great family adventures!
Finally, resources to assist you:
- https://www.wycliffe.org/resources/kids/ – a table of contents for their online offerings for the younger set. There’s one on Patrick of Ireland and one on heroes.
- Hero Tales: A Treasury of True Stories from the Lives of Heroes – four-volume set of books by Dave and Neta Jackson. An old resource but still available and very valuable.
- The Torchlighters – Heroes of the Faith – Each DVD (now 15 and growng!) contains a 30 minute animated story of a hero, a four-lesson curriculum in PDF, a feature-length documentary on the hero in English and Spanish with subtitles.
One more thought: Each of us is a hero to somebody. We have qualities God has built into us in order to achieve work for good in God’s Kingdom. Please celebrate these among your family members. I suggest that the potential for the future is beyond imagining. Venture on!!
We are God’s masterpieces, created to do good things he planned for us. Ephesians 2:10
KidZ at Heart values the family and the part it plays enabling children to fulfill their role in God’s plan.